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23 March 2021 Venue Memorial Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Match Preview - Bristol Rovers v Swindon Town

22 March 2021

The Gas return to their familiar setting at the Mem this week as they host Swindon Town.

Rovers' home form has been promising as of late and will be looking to add a result against Swindon Town to a list of recent performances against Shrewsbury Town, Accrington Stanley and AFC Wimbledon. 

A trip to Home Park saw the Gas come back empty-handed on Saturday, with Barton sending a clear message to his players after the full-time whistle, stressing the need for everyone to be ready for the run-in.

All the need to know info ahead of Tuesday's clash can be found below...

Manager’s Preview

Rovers Manager Joey Barton sat down with the local press via Zoom on Monday morning.

On the agenda was the response he expects from his players following Saturday's defeat, the tight nature of the league standings and the Rovers captaincy.  

Catch the interview in full below.

Feature

Manager's Preview - Joey Barton on Swindon Town

Media Talk

John Sheridan's assistant, Tommy Wright took media duties on Monday morning for Swindon. 

On Rovers, Wright said, " We saw their flaws against Plymouth, but we won't take them for granted. We've got to go there with confidence and belief.

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Form Guide

Swindon picked up their first win in four games on Saturday as they won 2-0 on the road at Fleetwood. It was a Scott Twine brace that helped John Sheridan’s side to victory on the weekend. The win helped Swindon jump up to 19th in the table, at the top of a mini-league of six teams separated by two points at the foot of the table.

The win at Highbury was Swindon’s first away win since January, with Robins losing out on the road at Accrington and Sunderland in recent weeks.

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Stat Pack

Swindon have picked up 12 points on the road this season, with three wins and three draws. They have scored 22 times on their travels and conceded 35 goals.

Hallum Hope has three goals this season away from the County Ground – a tally matched by Scott Twine and former Rovers player, Tyler Smith.

Swindon’s longest unbeaten run this season stretched three games back in February, where they beat Crewe at home, drew away at Lincoln and beat Northampton at the Country County – all in the space of 7 games. 

John Sheridan’s side are yet to pick up back to back wins in the league this season.

Brett Pitman is Swindon’s leading goal scorer this season with eight league goals to his name. Pitman has scored twice this season away from home.

Rovers have 20 points from 17 league games at the Mem this term – ranking them 18th in the league for points picked up on home turf.

Rovers current streak of three home games unbeaten is their longest undefeated streak of the season at home.

Since Joey Barton took charge of the Gas in February – Rovers have picked up 7 points from 4 home games.

Brandon Hanlan has featured in all 17 Rovers home games this season – with 14 starts and 3 appearances from the bench.

Joey Barton has faced John Sheridan once before in the opposition dugout – with Barton’s Fleetwood side picking up a 1-0 win at the County Ground in December 2020.

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View from the Press Bench

Jonathan Leighfield, Sports Reporter for the Swindon Advertiser, provides a synopsis of Swindon’s fortunes this season and looks ahead to tomorrow’s clash… 

‘The easiest word to sum up this season for Swindon would be inconsistent. Ignoring results – which obviously have been disappointing – the performances have rarely followed a similar pattern from one game to the next. Manager John Sheridan experienced a small bounce when he took over as Town beat Rovers in a pretty poor game at the County Ground before Christmas, but since then the consistency that Town fans had hoped to see just hasn’t materialised.

'Recent results have been disappointing before Swindon shocked in-form Fleetwood with one of the club’s most complete performances of the season. There were very few faults at all in a brilliant away performance, and with six of the final 10 games coming on the road, Town will hope to continue their encouraging away form at the Memorial Stadium. With both sides being something of an unknown quantity, making a confident prediction is almost impossible. However, with Rovers’ home form being decent of late – combined with the inconsistency of Town I previously mentioned – I am leaning towards a 2-1 Bristol Rovers victory.'

Referee Watch

Andy Woolmer is the man in charge of Tuesday’s encounter. Woolmer has officiated 26 times this season, handing out 76 yellow cards and one red card. The vastly experienced official last refereed Rovers in December 2019, taking charge of our 1-0 Emirates Cup win over Plymouth Argyle at Home Park. His last game at the Mem came in October 2018, where he was the referee for our 2-0 win over AFC Wimbledon.

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Betting

EFL sponsors Sky Bet have Rovers priced at 1/1 to win tomorrow’s clash, with the scoreline of 1-0 offered at 6/1.

Luke Leahy can be matched at 11/1 to open the scoring at the Mem tomorrow night, with Brandon Hanlan backed at 6/4 to be on the score sheet at any time.

To bet with Sky Bet please click HERE.

All odds are correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.

How to watch

Tuesday’s game is available to watch on iFollow. Click on the link below for a handy guide to the service. 

Feature

iFollow Guide: Swindon Town

Previous Encounters

When the two sides met earlier this season, it was Swindon who took the full three points on offer. 

The encounter at the County Ground in late November was Paul Tisdale's first game in charge of the Gas. In an uneventful game, which looked destined to end goalless, Pitman's goal in the 75th minute gave John Sheridan's men victory. 

Rovers' last encounter at the Mem against Swindon came back in November 2019, in the EFL Trophy. Rovers took the victory thanks to Mark Little's close-range finish in the second half. Catch highlights from that game below. 

Feature

Match Action: Bristol Rovers 1-0 Swindon Town

Around the Grounds

As this is a rearranged game, only four Sky Bet League One fixtures take place this midweek. The one game that will hold the attention of Rovers fans will be Northampton’s home encounter Oxford United. Northampton sit two places and a point below Rovers in the league standings. Burton make the relatively short trip to Shrewsbury on Tuesday, looking to recapture their good form after a blip at the weekend, while the other fixture sees Blackpool play host to Peterborough United.

 

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Match Reports

Match Report: Bristol Rovers 0-1 Swindon Town

23 March 2021

Rovers lose to Swindon Town at the Mem...

A stand-out moment from Tuesday evening's clash at the Mem will be the disallowed goal on the hour mark, as Westbrooke struck low into the bottom left from distance, before the ref', after long discussions, chose to award a free-kick for offside for Ayunga's part in the goal.

With the Gas wounded after seeing a crucial goal ruled out, Swindon began to take the game by the scruff of the neck, and on the 70th minute found a goal. A deflected free-kick fell to Payne who burst through the Rovers ranks before firing home.

Joey Barton sprung plenty of surprises with his team selection with the changes stemming from the back. Joe Day replaced Jordi van Stappershoef in goal, with a return from injury displacing Max Ehmer as Rovers moved to a back four. Finally, James Daly came in for Zain Westbrooke to create a three-pronged attack.

An early surge forward for Rovers created half a chance as Daly out-paced the Swindon defence to gather and deliver a ball from the opposition's byline. He delivered inwards to Ayunga who struck a shot from close-range, but the Kenyan was hampered by a Swindon defender, who took the pace off the effort and saw it trickle through.

A quiet first fifteen followed, with neither side really working clear openings but with Rovers largely controlling possession and territory.

Jack Payne would jink in sharply off the left side to fire on goal just before the 20th minute but smashed his effort high and wide from distance. Ed Upson received a yellow card shortly after for a sliding challenge in the centre of the park.

A clever ball from Upson almost unpicked the Swindon backline as he chipped it neatly over the defence following a lay-back from McCormick. It looked destined for the run of Ayunga inside the 6-yard box but for a last-ditch defensive header to take it clear.

Baldwin would then fire a bullet header in towards goal from a McCormick corner moments later. Struck into the box powerfully, Baldwin's connection harnessed the power, but a vital touch in the 6-yard box saw it headered away as the Gas sustained pressure. McCormick then picked up the recycled ball on the right but failed to find the target with his speculative effort.

The ball broke well for Jonah Ayunga on the 40th minute, surging forward and riding a challenge to find space for a strike, however, he slashed his strike wide of the target, pulling away and cutting a frustrated figure. His strike was the last before half-time, with just one minute added on.

A double change came from Barton at half-time as Josh Hare and Zain Westbrooke replaced James Daly and Ed Upson in a tweak in system.

Swindon had the first chance of the second period as Scott Twine reacted quickly to stab a header down towards goal, his poked strike was goalwards but a Rovers box took the sting out the shot and allowed Day to gather easily.

Then the deadlock looked to be broken. A header was looped up high into the sky, with Westbrooke reacting quickest to pounce and strike low on goal. The substitute smashed it hard and low into the bottom corner, arrowing past Lee Camp to put the Gas ahead. Then, as Westbrooke wheeled away in celebration, the ref' was called over by the linesman. After lengthy discussions, the ref' judged Ayunga to have been offside and involved in the goal, and disallowing the goal on those grounds.

A low delivery towards Hanlan looked to create another chance for an opening as the number 9 struck on the turn at the front post. He blasted his effort wayward though, not glancing the strike neatly enough to divert it goalwards.

Luke Leahy would be next to have a go, marauding forward from left wing-back to connect with a deep cross towards the byline. His connection was solid from the angle but he failed to flick it towards Camp's goal, instead of of sending it behind.

McCormick would turn and shoot soon after, but saw his low effort nestle comfortably in Camp's gloves in the centre of the goal.

Odimayo would look to turn the tide for Swindon as he progressed from deep before hitting an effort low from 30+ yards to Joe Day's right. The loanee dove for the ball, but saw it whistle past his post.

Jordan Garrick, moments after coming off the bench, looked to break the deadlock as he cut in off the right side and arrowed one towards the top left. It looked goalbound too, but for a superb header from Kilgour to just glance it over the bar.

Then, as momentum swayed to the visitors, a deflected free-kick rebounded to Jack Payne. He wriggled past an outstretched leg and struck towards the bottom left, leaving Day shellshocked as it found the net, putting Swindon ahead.

Late changes were made to push for an equalizer, and as the ball dropped from a cross to Ayunga it looked to be on. The towering forward looked to pick his spot but saw a deflection take it towards Camp kindly, tipping wide for a corner.

The Gas couldn't muster another chance after, losing 1-0.

Rovers host Sunderland on Saturday at the Mem.

Rovers: Joe Day, Luke Leahy, Josh Grant (David Tutonda '78), Ed Upson (Josh Hare '45), Brandon Hanlan, Luke McCormick, Alfie Kilgour, James Daly (Zain Westbrooke '45), Jonah Ayunga, Jack Baldwin (Erhun Oztumer '78), George Williams

Subs: Jordi van Stappershoef, Mark Little, Zain Westbrooke, Josh Hare, David Tutonda, Zain Walker, Erhun Oztumer.

Swindon Town: Lee Camp, Paul Caddis, Brett Pitman (c), Scott Twine, Ellis Iandolo, Akinwale Odimayo, Jack Payne, Matt Palmer, Dominic Thompson, Anthony Grant (Jordan Garrick '63).

Subs: Archie Matthews, Jonathan Grounds, Tyler Smith, Jordan Garrick, Taylor Curran, Tyrese Omotoyet, Hallam Hope.

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